Thinking of visiting Sweden? From the frozen lands up north to the rugged west coast to the picturesque islands in the Stockholm archipelago, Sweden is one of my favorite countries in the world. (I love it so much I even spent time living in Stockholm.)
Most people when they visit, hit the major cities and maybe a couple of the big parks but that’s it. Few people spend extended time here (and, if you’re not, I think you should).
But this country that scares people with its high prices is worth the extra time. You have medieval cities, beautiful islands, tons of castles, the Northern Lights, a growing foodie scene, friendly people, incredible art, and just a super high quality of life.
Sweden is just fun to visit.
The country isn’t the cheapest but this travel guide to Sweden will help you plan your visit and give you the lowdown on how to visit on a budget while still getting the best the country has to offer.
Table of Contents
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Top 5 Things to See and Do in Sweden
1. Explore Stockholm
2. Catch the Midsummer Festival
3. Visit Gotland
4. Hike the Kungsleden (King’s Trail)
5. Brave the cold in Lapland
Other Things to See and Do in Sweden
1. Partake in fika
Like “tea time” in the UK, a fika is Sweden’s way of slowing down. Coffee, conversation, and a few baked goods are an important part of the social fabric in Sweden, allowing friends and colleagues to take a break from the day to day and just relax. Be sure to take a few when you visit!
2. Stay in the Ice Hotel
Located up north in Jukkasjärvi, the Ice Hotel is a hotel built during the winter months out of (you guessed it) ice. There’s an ice bar, an ice dining room, and an ice bed (with big fur blankets!). Be prepared to pay the price for a unique stay like this, as nights cost 10,000 SEK! The hotel is also open for tours, allowing visitors to explore the impressive construction and design. Tours cost 175 SEK and are in English. (The hotel has “regular” rooms as well in an adjacent building, which “only” cost 1,900 SEK per night.)
3. Visit the Stockholm Archipelago
Take a boat around different islands that surround Stockholm. During the summer, they become big attractions for locals as they boat around and spend nights on the tiny islands. You can take a day tour or just spend a few nights on some of the islands. It’s super peaceful and relaxing and one of my top things to do during the summer!
4. Visit Gothenburg
Gothenburg is Sweden’s second largest city (and sees far fewer visitors than Stockholm). Walk along the cobblestone pedestrian streets of Haga, window shop along the Avenyn, or visit Liseberg, one the biggest theme parks in all of Scandinavia. The city has a much more laid back vibe than Stockholm and offers plenty of nearby hiking, swimming, and other outdoor activities.
5. Explore the Bohuslän Coast
This beautiful coast is home to over 8,000 islands and almost 300km of coastline. The region is known for its fishing, swimming, and hiking and it’s one of the best spots in the country to get fresh seafood (don’t miss lobster season from late September until the end of November). There is also a UNESCO rock-carving site in Tanumshede with carvings and paintings dating back to the Bronze Age and Iron Age!
6. Go skiing
Scandinavians love their winter sports, One of the most popular ski resorts in the region is Åre, which lies 80 km from Östersund (and around 600km north from Stockholm). The highest peak at the resort is over 1,400 meters. Daily trains run to the area from Stockholm. Lift tickets are generally around 600 SEK. Other areas that are great for skiing are Sälen, Vemdalen, and Branäs (Sälen and Branäs are the two southernmost options, though all are still several hours north of Gothenburg and Stockholm).
7. Kick back in Uppsala
Uppsala is a quiet university town about 25 minutes from the Arlanda
Airport and an hour away from Stockholm by train. It’s filled with quaint shops, picturesque waterways, lovely parks, and bike trails. A lot of what’s here is centered around the university – from the vast library (with more than 5 million volumes) to the Museum of Evolution (with over 5 million zoological, botanical, and fossil specimens) to the Linnaean Gardens. You should definitely tour the university when you visit too.
Additionally, don’t miss The Museum Gustavianum with its Viking and Egyptian exhibits (mummies included) and Bror Hjorths Hus (dedicated to the artist whose phallic art greets you at the train station). This is also one of the most budget-friendly places in the country thanks to all the students there!
8. Celebrate Valborg Day
Held on April 30th, this annual festival serves to welcome spring. It’s characterized by huge bonfires and even bigger parties and is a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages. Municipalities will often organize events — including the massive bonfires — though many locals will also host their own parties.
9. Check out Wallander’s Ystad
Wallander is one of Sweden’s most popular fictional characters. A detective in the city of Ystad, Wallander is the main character in a dozen novels and their corresponding 30+ TV episodes — all set in or around Ystad (there was even a UK adaptation of the series starring Kenneth Brannagh). Located in Skåne, the town is quite picturesque and full of history. If you’re a big fan of Wallander, you can arrange a tour at the tourist office, but even if you’re not, the town itself has a lot of character and is worth exploring. It’s only one hour from Malmö and makes for a nice day trip.
10. Visit Kosterhavet National Park
Kosterhavet is a marine park located on and around the Koster Islands, which are located just two hours north Gothenburg. It’s the country’s first marine park and it’s here where you’ll find Sweden’s only coral reef. The park, which spans almost 400 square kilometers, is home to 6,000 marine species (many of which don’t exist anywhere else in the country). The islands are beautiful and worth exploring. Rent some bikes to get around and enjoy the rugged landscape and the wildlife that call it home (there’s a large seal colony here too). You can access the islands via the local ferry. Return tickets are 130 SEK in the summer and 100 SEK during the rest of the year.
11. Visit the Vasa Museum
This is hands-down the one MUST-SEE museum in Stockholm – it houses the famous Vasa ship, which sank right as it set sail in the harbor in 1628, due to being too heavy to float. The cold sea kept the ship intact (along with the original paint). The museum does a wonderful job of putting the ship into the historical context of the 17th century and Sweden’s Golden Age, and there are English guided tours. Adult admission is 130 SEK.
12. Let loose at Liseberg
Located in Gothenburg, this is the biggest amusement park in all of Scandinavia. There are roller-coasters, a haunted house, tons of rides for kids, and giant Ferris wheel with stunning views of the city. Concerts by popular artists are common here too! Admission is 110 SEK.
13. Explore the Universeum
If you’re traveling with kids (or just want to act like a kid) head to Universeum in Gothenburg. It’s an interactive science center that opened in 2011, offering an indoor rainforest, a chemistry lab, dinosaur exhibits, and much more. It’s a great way to have fun and learn a thing or two along the way. Admission is 225 SEK for adults and 175 SEK for kids under 16.
14. Celebrate “Cozy Friday”
Fredagsmys, which loosely translates to ‘cozy Friday’ is a popular Swedish pastime that involves eating tacos or pizza, buying bulk candy, and curling up with a movie. You’ll notice bulk candy is for sale in pretty much every single store — and Fredagsmys is why. The tradition only dates back to the 1990s, but it is one that is strongly embraced!
Sweden Travel Costs
Accommodation – Accommodation, like everything in Sweden, is not cheap. Hostels start around 250 SEK per night for a dorm and about 650 SEK for a private room. Most hostels in Sweden also add a 25-50 SEK surcharge for bed linen to offset the cost of cleaning (you can bring your own sheets, but sleeping bags are not permitted).
A budget hotel will begin around 700 SEK for a basic double room. Cheaper options are available however they usually necessitate sharing a bathroom with other guests so make sure you read the fine print so you’re not surprised.
Shared rooms from sites like Airbnb can be found for as little as 300 SEK per night, though private rooms and apartments are much more common. A private room will cost between 375-800 SEK per night while a whole apartment or house will cost you between 600-1,200 SEK per night. Expect to pay more in Stockholm compared to the rest of the country.
Wild camping is a good budget option as it is legal (and FREE!) to camp almost anywhere in Sweden. Sweden has ‘Freedom to Roam’ laws that allow anyone to camp anywhere for 1 night (even if it’s private property). You’ll need to make sure you are not camping near someone’s house, that you take all trash with you when you leave, and that you aren’t in a farmer’s field or garden. But other than that, you can pretty much throw your tent anywhere!
If wild camping is not your thing, campgrounds are also common though many require a Camping Key Europe card. You can purchase it at your campsite or online for 160 SEK. Most campsites have modern facilities, including toilets and showers. Expect most plots to cost around 200 SEK per night.
Food – Food is expensive in Sweden. You can get cheap food from outdoor street vendors starting at 50 SEK, though they are few and far between. You can get hot dogs for around 30 SEK at places like 7-Eleven and Pressbyran. Your best bet for cheap food (when it comes to restaurants) will be Thai and Middle Eastern restaurants. You can usually find meals for around 65 SEK. The Thai restaurants have large portions too, which means you can sometimes get an extra meal from the leftovers. Lunch buffets will be another good budget-friendly option (usually for lunch). Buffet prices will be around 100 SEK but you can fill up and get your money’s worth. Don’t miss Café Andrum in Gothenburg or Herman’s in Stockholm.
Grocery shopping here will cost around 650 SEK per week, however, if you cut down on your meat and cheese intake (some of the most expensive food items in Sweden) you can lower your costs significantly. Many convenience stores and cafes offer pre-packaged sandwiches and meals for 50-100 SEK if you’re on the go and want a quick bite. Whole pizzas begin around 65 SEK and most nice sit-down restaurant meals begin at 200 SEK for a main dish. The cheapest grocery store chain is Willy’s, though ICA and Lidl also have good deals as well.
If you’re looking for a drink, beer can be as cheap as 40 SEK, though 65-75 SEK is more common. Wine will cost around 55-75 SEK at your average restaurant, and cocktails will set you back around 100 SEK. If you’re on a budget you’ll likely want to stick to beer. You can buy your own alcohol at the government-run Systembolaget for even greater savings.
Activities – Most museums and attractions cost about 80-195 SEK. Bike rentals will cost around 200 SEK per day, while guided bike tours will range from 300-400 SEK per person. Admission to Liseberg, the biggest theme park in the country, is 110 SEK.
There are lots of free activities here as well, such as hiking and camping. Wild camping is legal in Sweden thanks to their ‘Freedom to Roam’ laws. That means you can camp pretty much anywhere in the country (even on private property) as long as you are not disturbing people or camping in a farmer’s field or garden. You can only camp in a place for 1 night, but that’s still better than nothing!
Backpacking Sweden Suggested Budgets
On a backpacking budget, you should plan to spend between 650-750 SEK ($65-75 USD) per day. On this budget, you’re staying in a hostel dorm or camping, cooking your own meals, using public transportation, and participating in cheap activities like visiting museums, hiking, or taking free walking tours.
On a mid-range of budget of 1,300-1,800 SEK ($130-180 USD) per day, you can stay in budget hotels, eat out more, drink a bit, take guided tours, and visit a wider range of activities!
For a luxury budget of 4,200+ SEK ($425+ USD) per day, you can afford to stay in nicer four star or more hotel, hire a rental car, eat out for every meal, and do as many activities as you want.
You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily. Keep in mind these are daily averages – some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in USD.
Sweden Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips
Sweden is expensive. There are just no two ways about it. But, while it may not be the most budget-friendly destination, there are still plenty of ways to save while you’re here. It takes some work and you won’t be able to eat or drink out a lot but it can be done! Here are some tips to save money in Sweden:
- Drink beer – Alcohol isn’t cheap in Sweden as it is heavily taxed. However, beer is quite affordable. If you stick to beer, you can save yourself a lot of money when you go to the bars. Beer can be as low as 40 SEK, with hostels typically having the best-priced bar drinks overall. To save even more, buy your beer from the Systembolaget (the government-run store that sells alcohol) and save even more (as much as 50%).
- Book in advance – My trip to the Stockholm train station taught me that travel around Sweden is expensive when you are booking only a day or two beforehand. Booking trains or buses three to four weeks in advance can get you around 40-50% off. Swebus, SJ, and MTR are the major companies you’ll want to consider, with MTR being the cheapest train company. Flixbus is a budget-friendly option as well if you’d rather take the bus over the train.
- Bring a refillable water bottle – The tap water in Sweden, as in all of Scandinavia, is perfectly drinkable. In fact, tap water in Sweden is often cleaner than bottled water! Bring a refillable water bottle and save your money — and the environment! To make sure your water is extra safe, bring a SteriPen or LifeStraw (they are great if you’re camping too).
- Purchase a city tourism card – These tourist passes give you access to a city’s public transportation system and free entrance into 99% of the museums and attractions. If you plan on seeing the majority of attractions and museums, one of these cards will save you money. (Savings will vary depending on how much you use the card.) The Stockholm Pass, for example, includes access to 60 attractions for just 719 SEK for a 1-day pass and 917 SEK for a 2-day pass (which is the much better choice as there is a lot to see!).
- Skip the restaurants – Eating out in Sweden is very expensive, especially if you are going to a sit-down restaurant. If you want to eat out, stick to the outside food vendors you see on the street. You can find a decent variety (I found a Thai one once) and they are only about 65 SEK per meal. You can also get cheap hotdogs and sausages for about 30 SEK. If you’re craving take-out, stick to Thai and Middle-Eastern food, as they will be the cheapest.
- Go for the buffet – Lunch is the best time to eat out in Sweden. Buffets and restaurants have set meals for around 105 SEK. It’s the best deal you can find and one utilized a lot by locals. Don’t miss Hermitage in Stockholm for a cozy, home cooked meal!
- Avoid clubs – Most clubs have a 260 SEK cover. Don’t waste your money.
- Get a metro card – Each region of Sweden has its own public transportation operator, and transportation cards will include buses, trams, subways, and boats. Prices will vary for each region, so be sure to enquire when you arrive. If you will be in a city for a few days, be sure to grab a tourist pass. At 335 SEK for a week’s worth of train rides in Stockholm or 190 SEK for 3 days of buses in Gothenburg, these cards will definitely save you money.
- Check for deals – When you’re shopping for groceries, check the flyer first and pay attention to what’s on sale. It’s not a “cool” way to save, but by paying attention what’s on sale you can likely save yourself a few kronor (and a few kronor can make a difference here!).
Where To Stay in Sweden
Hostels are not all that plentiful across Sweden, mostly just available in the 3 main cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmo. Outside the big cities, you’ll need to use Airbnb or stay in budget guesthouses. Here are my recommended places to stay while you’re in Sweden:
How to Get Around Sweden
Public Transportation – Public transportation in Sweden is incredible. You can not only use it to explore the cities but also the countryside and less-visited towns and villages as well. Tickets will vary in each region and are usually based on how far you travel. A single-fare ticket in Gothenburg will cost around 28 SEK, though you can also take a public bus (and then a ferry) from Gothenburg out to many of the nearby islands for around 120 SEK (some of which are 2-3 hours away!)
The public transportation in Stockholm is 45 SEK per ticket, making the day pass (or multi-day pass) your best choice. Most cities have an app you can download to manage and pay for your tickets. No one will inspect your ticket when you ride, however, if you get caught without paying the fine is 1,500 SEK!
Intercity Buses – Buses booked a month or more in advance can be found for as cheap as 80 SEK. However, those tickets are limited in number, and typically buses cost 225–405 SEK. For the cheapest prices, use Flixbus.
If you are arriving at an airport, Flygbussarna is the main shuttle company, with tickets around 100 SEK from major airports to the nearest downtown (Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö). Flixbus also manages some airport shuttles though they are much less frequent (they are cheaper, however).
Train – Most intercity trains cost 350–700 SEK, though tickets for as low as 185 SEK can be found for routes between Stockholm and Gothenburg (a journey which takes between 3-4 hours) when booked in advance.
Overnight trains, like the fifteen-hour trip from Stockholm to Luleå, cost between 700–1,215 SEK per person.
The Arlanda Express, the train from Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport to the central station, is 299 SEK for a one-way ticket. The journey takes around 20 minutes, while the bus will take closer to 45 minutes and costs just over 100 SEK.
Flying – While distances in the south are short enough for comfortable train and bus rides, if you’re heading up north a plane is likely going to be much more convenient. Flights from Stockholm to Kiruna start at around 1,200 SEK for the 4-hour flight (the train takes over 15 hours).
If you’re short on time, the flight from Stockholm to Gothenburg takes just under an hour and usually costs around 1,000 SEK.
Car Rental – You can rent a car in Sweden for around 500 SEK per day. Just keep in mind that the majority of the cars here will be manual so you’ll need to be able to drive stick. With efficient public transportation and plenty of intercity bus and train options, I would suggest against renting a car unless you’re planning to do a road trip. Driving in the cities isn’t the most fun and parking is very expensive.
Ride-Sharing – Uber here is pretty much the same price as taxis so I don’t recommend using it as it’s quite expensive. For example, taxi prices start at around 50 SEK and go up by 17 SEK per kilometer, which means a quick ride can cost as much as 200 SEK! Skip the taxis and ride shares here.
Hitchhiking – Hitchhiking isn’t really common in Sweden, though foreigners can get away with it as long as they stick to major highways (such as the E4). Most Swedes speak English so communication isn’t an issue. If you can, have a small flag from your home country so you’ll stand out as a tourist. That will increase your chances or getting picked up.
When to Go to Sweden
The ideal time to visit Sweden is from June to August, when the weather is warm and the days are (really) long. The country is at its liveliest during this time, and you will find locals taking advantage of the good weather at every opportunity. The parks are always full, and there are always fun events happening around town. Temperatures are often in the 20s Celsius (60s and 70s Fahrenheit) during the summer months.
The downside to visiting then is that, since Sweden has a very short summer, the cities can get busy so be sure to book your accommodation in advance. This is especially true if you are visiting during Midsommar, the big Swedish holiday at the end of June. It’s a great time to experience Swedish traditions (which involve a lot of drinking!)
May typically has great weather with occasional rain, while September will give you cooler temperatures and changing leaves. You’ll beat the crowds and still be able to explore the city on foot without the weather getting in your way (too much).
Attractions begin to close around late September, and the days get dark early in October. Temperatures start dropping around this time too. However, prices also decrease, and you’re likely to find cheaper airfares and accommodations during this time. Be sure to pack layers if you plan on visiting during this time of year.
The winter is very cold and sees a lot of snow and darkness. In the depths of the winter, you only get a few hours of light each day and temperatures plummet to below 0ºC (32ºF). The plus side of traveling during the off-season, however, is that you’ll be offered the cheapest accommodations, and fees for certain attractions will be lower as well. While Stockholm is particularly beautiful in winter, you won’t want to be walking around as much, and since it’s a great city to explore on foot, you will potentially be missing out.
Nevertheless, there is something special to be experienced in every season!
How to Stay Safe in Sweden
Sweden is one of the safest countries in the world. In fact, it ranks 18th on the ranking of the world’s safest countries! However, in the large cities like Stockholm it’s still good to keep an eye out for pickpockets, especially around the train stations and on public transportation. Just be aware of your surroundings and use common sense and you should be just fine.
Most Swedes speak some English so you shouldn’t have any language issues in an emergency. However, it won’t hurt to download the Swedish language pack to your phone so you have offline access just in case.
Additionally, download offline maps for each destination you visit in case you get lost or need to explain directions to a cab driver.
Solo female travelers should feel comfortable traveling alone — even a night. Taxis here are quite safe and crime is rare against solo travelers. But keep your wits up and never travel alone at night if you’ve been drinking, just to be safe.
Always trust your gut instinct. If a taxi driver seems shady, stop the cab and get out. If your hotel is seedier than you thought, get out of there. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID as well. It never hurts to be prepared!
Worried about travel scams? Read about these 14 major travel scams to avoid.
The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:
Sweden Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources
Below are my favorite companies to use when I travel around Sweden. They are included here because they consistently turn up the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are always my starting point when I need to book a flight, hotel, tour, train, or meeting people!
- Momondo – This is my favorite flight search engine because they search such a wide variety of sites and airlines. I never book a flight without checking here first.
- Skyscanner – Skyscanner is another great flight search engine which searches a lot of different airlines, including many of the budget carriers that larger sites miss. While I always start with Momondo, I use this site too as a way to compare prices.
- Airbnb – Airbnb is a great accommodation alternative for connecting with homeowners who rent out their homes or apartments. The big cities have tons of listings!
- Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there, with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
- Hotwire – This is probably the hotel site I use most. I really enjoy its blind booking process. They essentially say, “we have a super rate on a 3-star hotel in New York’s Times Square,” and you book it without knowing the hotel name. While that sounds scary, I’ve never ended up in a bad hotel and have saved a ton of money in the process. Highly recommended.
- Priceline – I like this website because it allows you to bid on hotels and save a lot more money than by booking directly. When used in conjunction with the bidding site Better Bidding, you can substantially lower the cost of your hotels — by as much as 60%.
- Intrepid Travel – If you want to do a group tour around Sweden, go with Intrepid Travel. They offer good small group tours that use local operators and leave a small environmental footprint. If you go on a tour with anyone, go with them. And, as a reader of this site, you’ll get a discount when you click the link!
- World Nomads – I buy all my travel insurance from World Nomads. They have great customer service, competitive prices, and in-depth coverage. I’ve been using them since I started traveling in 2003. Don’t leave home without it!
Sweden Gear and Packing Guide
If you’re heading on the road and need some gear suggestions, here are my tips for the best travel backpack and for what to pack!
The Best Backpack for Travelers
Straps: Thick and cushy with compression technology that pulls the pack’s load up and inwards so it doesn’t feel as heavy.
Features: Removable top lid, large pocket at the front, hydration compatible, contoured hip belt
If you want something different, refer to my article on how to choose the best travel backpack for tips on picking a pack and other backpack suggestions.
What to Pack for Your Trip
- 1 pair of jeans (heavy and not easily dried, but I like them; a good alternative is khaki pants)
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 bathing suit
- 5 T-shirts (Unbound Merino is my preferred company. If you’re a member of NM+, you can get 15% off your purchase)
- 1 long-sleeved T-shirt
- 1 pair of flip-flops
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 6 pairs of socks (I always end up losing half)
- 5 pairs of boxer shorts (I’m not a briefs guy!)
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 tube of toothpaste
- 1 razor
- 1 package of dental floss
- 1 small bottle of shampoo
- 1 small bottle of shower gel
- 1 towel
Small Medical Kit (safety is important!!!)
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Antibacterial cream
- Hand sanitizer (germs = sick = bad holiday)
- A key or combination lock (safety first)
- Zip-lock bags (keeps things from leaking or exploding)
- Plastic bags (great for laundry)
- Universal charger/adaptor (this applies to everyone)
- LifeStraw (A water bottle with a purifier)
Female Travel Packing List
I’m not a woman, so I don’t know what a woman wears, but Kristin Addis, our solo female travel guru, wrote this list as an addition to the basics above:
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 sarong
- 1 pair of stretchy jeans (they wash and dry easily)
- 1 pair of leggings (if it’s cold, they can go under your jeans, otherwise with a dress or shirt)
- 2-3 long-sleeve tops
- 2-3 T-shirts
- 3-4 spaghetti tops
- 1 light cardigan
- 1 dry shampoo spray & talc powder (keeps long hair grease-free in between washes)
- 1 hairbrush
- Makeup you use
- Hair bands & hair clips
- Feminine hygiene products (you can opt to buy there too, but I prefer not to count on it, and most people have their preferred products)
For more on packing, check out these posts:
Sweden Travel Guide: Suggested Reading
The Millennium Series, by Stieg Larsson
The Millennium Series started out as a trilogy composed of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire in 2006, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, all of which were published posthumously after Larsson’s sudden death (the series has been continued with a new author based on Larsson’s notes). The series weaves a tantalizing web of mystery and corruption which has propelled the series to over 100 million copies sold. It was later adapted into three critically-acclaimed Swedish films (as well as two Hollywood films).
Modern-Day Vikings, by Christina Johansson Robinowitz and Lisa Werner Carr
Modern Vikings does a great job of both exploring and explaining Swedish culture, highlighting the similarities and differences between Sweden and the US. The book also illuminates some of the country’s cultural quirks (such as their preference for all things “lagom” and Jante’s Law) as well as their place in modern history. It’s a good overview for anyone looking to learn a little more than Wikipedia can offer before they arrive.
The Laughing Policeman, by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö
While this is actually the 4th novel in a series of 10 novels (all written in the 60s and 70s), you don’t need to have read previous books to follow along. The book is a cunning murder mystery with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. Swede’s love their police dramas and murder mysteries, and The Laughing Policeman is one of the best. There is also a TV show based on the main character too!
A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
This novel is equal parts heartwarming, depressing, and funny all at once (but mostly depressing to be honest). The book follows Ove, a grumpy old man who lives a life of solitude. As an unlikely friendship blooms, we learn about his tragic past and why he’s so irritable in the first place. The book was adapted into an award-winning film as well, which is also worth a watch.
Let the Right One In, by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Another dark tale (Swede’s love their dark novels!), Let the Right One In is about the friendship between two young children in Stockholm…but there is more to the story than meets the eye as not long after the two meet a dead body is found nearby. The book was adapted into both Swedish and English films as well (the Swedish one is better though).
Sweden Travel Guide: Related Articles
Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on Sweden travel and continue planning your trip: